|Member of Parliament|
for Hampstead and Kilburn
Hampstead and Highgate (1992–2010)
9 April 1992 – 30 March 2015
|Preceded by||Geoffrey Finsberg|
|Succeeded by||Tulip Siddiq|
|Born||9 May 1936|
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, UK
(m. 1958; div. 1976)
|Education||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
Glenda May Jackson CBE (born 9 May 1936) is an English actress and former Labour Party politician. A professional actress from the late 1950s onwards, Jackson spent four years as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1964, and was particularly associated with the work of director Peter Brook. She has won two Academy Awards for Best Actress: for Women in Love (1970) and A Touch of Class (1973). She has also won awards for her performances as Alex in the film Sunday Bloody Sunday and in the BBC television serial Elizabeth R (both 1971); receiving two Primetime Emmy Awards for the latter. In 2018, Jackson won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in a revival of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, and is thus one of the few performers to have achieved the "triple crown of acting".
Jackson has also had a career in politics, which began in 1992, when she was elected the MP for Hampstead and Highgate. Early in the government of Tony Blair, she served as a Junior Transport minister from 1997 to 1999, later becoming critical of Blair. After constituency-boundary changes, from 2010 she represented Hampstead and Kilburn. At the general election in that year, her majority of 42 votes was one of the closest results of the entire election. She announced in 2011 that she would stand down at the 2015 general election.
Jackson was born in Birkenhead on the Wirral, Cheshire, where her father was a builder, and her mother worked in shops and as a cleaner. Jackson was educated at the West Kirby County Grammar School for Girls, and performed at the Townswomen's Guild drama group during her teens. She worked for two years in a branch of the Boots the Chemist chain before taking up a scholarship in 1954 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Jackson made her professional stage debut in Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables in 1957 while at RADA and appeared in repertory for the next six years. Her film debut was a bit part in This Sporting Life (1963). A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for four years from 1964, she originally joined for director Peter Brook's 'Theatre of Cruelty' season which included Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade (1965) in which she played an inmate of an insane asylum portraying Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat. The production ran on Broadway in 1965 and in Paris (Jackson appeared in the 1967 film version). Jackson also appeared as Ophelia in Peter Hall's production of Hamlet in the same year. Critic Penelope Gilliatt thought Jackson was the only Ophelia she had seen who was ready to play the Prince himself.
The RSC's staging at the Aldwych Theatre of US (1966), a protest play against the Vietnam War, also featured Jackson, and she appeared in its film version, Tell Me Lies. Later that year, she starred in the psychological drama Negatives (1968), which was not a huge financial success, but won her more good reviews.
Jackson's starring role in Ken Russell's film adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love (1969) led to her winning her first Academy Award for Best Actress. Brian McFarlane, the main author of The Encyclopedia of British Film, has written: "Her blazing intelligence, sexual challenge and abrasiveness were at the service of a superbly written role in a film with a passion rare in the annals of British cinema."
In the process of gaining funding for The Music Lovers (1970) from United Artists, Russell explained it as "the story of a homosexual who marries a nymphomaniac," the couple being the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Richard Chamberlain) and Antonina Miliukova, played by Jackson. This film received mixed reviews in the U.S.: the anonymous reviewer in Variety wrote of the two principals, "Their performances are more dramatically bombastic than sympathetic, or sometimes even believable." Jackson was initially interested in the role of Sister Jeanne in The Devils (1971), Russell's next film, but turned it down after script rewrites and deciding that she did not wish to play a third neurotic character in a row.
In order to play Queen Elizabeth I in the BBC's serial Elizabeth R (1971), Jackson had her head shaved. After the series was shown on PBS in the US, Jackson received two Primetime Emmy Awards for her performance. She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the film Mary, Queen of Scots, and gained an Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA Award for her role in John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday (both 1971). In that year British exhibitors voted her the 6th most popular star at the British box office.
In 1971 she made the first of several appearances with Morecambe and Wise, appearing in a comedy sketch as Cleopatra for the BBC Morecambe and Wise Show in which she delivered the line "All men are fools and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got." Later appearances included a song and dance routine (in which she was pushed offstage by Eric), a period drama about Queen Victoria, and another musical routine (in their Thames Television series) in which she is elevated ten feet in the air by a misbehaving swivel chair. Jackson and Wise also appeared in an information film for the Blood Transfusion Service.
Filmmaker Melvin Frank saw her comedic potential on the Morecambe and Wise Show and offered her the lead female role in his next project. She gained a second Academy Award for Best Actress for Frank's A Touch of Class (1973), a romantic comedy co-starring George Segal. She continued to work in the theatre, and returned to the RSC to play the lead role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. A later film version directed by Trevor Nunn was released as Hedda (1975), for which Jackson was nominated for an Oscar. In The New York Times, Vincent Canby praised Jackson's performance: "This version of Hedda Gabler is all Miss Jackson's Hedda and, I must say, great fun to watch ... Miss Jackson's technical virtuosity is particularly suited to a character like Hedda. Her command of her voice and her body, as well as the Jackson mannerisms, have the effect of separating the actress from the character in a very curious way." In 1978, she scored box office success in the United States in the romantic comedy House Calls, which co-starred Walter Matthau. Jackson and Matthau teamed again in the comedy Hopscotch (1980), which was a mild success, but not as popular as expected.[by whom?]
For her 1980 appearance on The Muppet Show, she told the producers that she would perform any material they liked; this turned out to be a role where she has a delusion that she is a pirate captain who hijacks the Muppet Theatre as her ship.
In 1985, she appeared on Broadway as Nina Leeds in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude at the Nederlander Theatre in a production which had originated in London the previous year and ran for eight weeks. John Beaufort for The Christian Science Monitor wrote: "Bravura is the inevitable word for Miss Jackson's display of feminine wiles and brilliant technique." Frank Rich in The New York Times thought Jackson, "with her helmet of hair and gashed features," when Leeds is a young woman, "looks like a cubist portrait of Louise Brooks," and later when the character has aged several decades, is "mesmerizing as a Zelda Fitzgeraldesque neurotic, a rotting and spiteful middle-aged matron and, finally, a spent, sphinx-like widow happily embracing extinction." Herbert Wise directed a British television version of O'Neill's drama which was first broadcast in the US as part of PBS's American Playhouse in January 1988.
In 1985, Jackson appeared in the title role of Racine's Phèdre at The Old Vic. The Daily Telegraph's John Barber wrote of her performance, "Wonderfully impressive . . . The actress finds a voice as jagged and hoarse as her torment." Benedict Nightingale in the New Statesman was intrigued that Jackson didn't go in for nobility, but played Racine's feverish queen as if to say that "being skewered in the guts by Cupid is an ugly, bitter, humiliating business."
In 1989, Jackson appeared in Ken Russell's The Rainbow, playing Anna Brangwen, mother of Gudrun, the part which had won her her first Academy Award twenty years earlier. Also in that year she played Martha in a Los Angeles production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Doolittle Theatre (now the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre). Directed by the playwright himself, this staging featured John Lithgow as George. Dan Sullivan in the Los Angeles Times wrote that Jackson and Lithgow performed "with the assurance of dedicated character assassins, not your hire-and-salary types" with the actors being able to display their character's capacity for antipathy. Albee was disappointed with this production, pointing to Jackson who he thought "had retreated back to the thing she can do very well, that ice cold performance. I don't know whether she got scared, but in rehearsal she was being Martha, and the closer we got to opening the less Martha she was!"
She performed the lead role in Howard Barker's Scenes from an Execution as Galactia, a sixteenth century female Venetian artist, at the Almeida Theatre in 1990. It was an adaptation of Barker's 1984 radio play in which Jackson had played the same role.
Jackson retired from acting in order to stand for election to the House of Commons in the 1992 general election, subsequently becoming the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate. She has stated that she felt Britain was being "destroyed" by the policies of Thatcher and the Conservative government, so that she was willing to do "anything that was legal" to oppose her.
Following a period as shadow minister for transport, following the 1997 general election, she was appointed as parliamentary under secretary of state (a junior minister) in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, with responsibility for London Transport, a post from which she resigned in 1999 before an unsuccessful attempt to be nominated as the Labour Party candidate for the election of the first Mayor of London in 2000. In the 2005 general election, she received 14,615 votes, representing 38.29% of the votes cast in the constituency.
As a high-profile backbencher, she became a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce higher education tuition fees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. She also called for him to resign following the Judicial Enquiry by Lord Hutton in 2003 surrounding the reasons for going to war in Iraq and the death of government adviser Dr. David Kelly. Jackson was generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing Third Way faction in the Labour Party. Jackson is also a republican.
By October 2005, her disagreements with Blair's leadership swelled to a point where she threatened to challenge the Prime Minister as a stalking horse candidate in a leadership contest if he did not stand down within a reasonable amount of time. On 31 October 2006, Jackson was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.
Her constituency boundaries changed for the 2010 general election. The Gospel Oak and Highgate wards became part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn constituency switched into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). On 6 May 2010, Jackson was elected as the MP for the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency with a margin of 42 votes over Conservative Chris Philp, with the Liberal Democrat candidate Edward Fordham less than a thousand votes behind them. She had the second closest result and second smallest majority of any MP in the 2010 election.
In June 2011, Jackson announced that, presuming the Parliament elected in 2010 lasted until 2015, she would not seek re-election. She stated: "I will be almost 80 and by then it will be time for someone else to have a turn". The eventual election was held two days before her 79th birthday.
In April 2013, Jackson gave a speech in parliament following the death of Margaret Thatcher. She accused Thatcher of treating "vices as virtues" and stated that because of Thatcherism England was susceptible to unprecedented unemployment rates and homelessness.
Another speech of Jackson's went viral in June 2014 when she gave a scathing assessment of Iain Duncan Smith's tenure as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, telling him that he was responsible for the "destruction of the welfare state and the total and utter incompetence of his department."
In 2015, Jackson returned to acting following a 23-year absence, having retired from politics. She took the role of Dide, the ancient matriarch, in a series of Radio 4 plays, Blood, Sex and Money, based on a series of novels by Émile Zola. She returned to the stage at the end of 2016, playing the title role in William Shakespeare's King Lear at the Old Vic Theatre in London, in a production running from 25 October to 3 December. Jackson was nominated for Best Actress at the Olivier Awards for her role, but ultimately lost out to Billie Piper. She did, however, win the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress at the 2017 Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her performance. Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph wrote, "Glenda Jackson is tremendous as King Lear. No ifs, no buts. In returning to the stage at the age of 80, 25 years after her last performance (as the Clytemnestra-like Christine in Eugene O'Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra at the Glasgow Citizens), she has pulled off one of those 11th-hour feats of human endeavour that will surely be talked about for years to come by those who see it."
In 2018, Jackson returned to Broadway in a revival of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, winning the 2018 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Marilyn Stasio of Variety wrote, "Watching Glenda Jackson in theatrical flight is like looking straight into the sun. Her expressive face registers her thoughts while guarding her feelings. But it's the voice that really thrills. Deeply pitched and clarion clear, it's the commanding voice of stern authority. Don't mess with this household god or she'll turn you to stone."
Jackson returned to the role of King Lear on Broadway in a production that opened in April 2019. Director Sam Gold describes her portrayal of Lear in The New York Times Magazine : "She is going to go through something most people don't go through. You're all invited. Glenda Jackson is going to endure this, and you're going to witness it."
Jackson has a son, Dan Hodges, born in 1969 from her marriage to Roy Hodges; he has worked as a Labour Party adviser and commentator, and a well-known political blogger who describes himself as a "Blairite cuckoo". She was five months pregnant when filming on Women in Love was completed. Her marriage to Hodges lasted from 1958 until their divorce in 1976.
In 1978, Jackson was awarded a CBE.
|1963||This Sporting Life||Singer at Party||Uncredited|
|1969||Women in Love||Gudrun Brangwen|
|1971||The Music Lovers||Antonina Miliukova|
|1971||Sunday Bloody Sunday||Alex Greville|
|1971||The Boy Friend||Rita Monroe|
|1971||Mary, Queen of Scots||Queen Elizabeth I|
|1972||The Triple Echo||Alice|
|1973||Bequest to the Nation||Lady Hamilton||AKA The Nelson Affair|
|1973||A Touch of Class||Vickie Allessio|
|1973||The Devil Is a Woman||Sister Geraldine|
|1975||The Romantic Englishwoman||Elizabeth Fielding|
|1976||The Incredible Sarah||Sarah Bernhardt|
|1977||Nasty Habits||Sister Alexandra|
|1978||House Calls||Ann Atkinson|
|1978||The Class of Miss MacMichael||Conor MacMichael|
|1979||Lost and Found||Patricia Brittenham|
|1980||Hopscotch||Isobel von Schonenberg|
|1982||The Return of the Soldier||Margaret Grey|
|1985||Turtle Diary||Neaera Duncan|
|1988||Business as Usual||Babs Flynn|
|1988||Salome's Last Dance||Herodias / Lady Alice|
|1989||The Rainbow||Anna Brangwen|
|1990||King of the Wind||Queen Caroline|
|1957–61||ITV Play of the Week||Iris Jones / Jurywoman||2 episodes|
|1963||Z-Cars||Hospital Nurse / WPC Fernley||2 episodes|
|1965–68||The Wednesday Play||Cathy / Julie||2 episodes|
|1967||Half Hour Story||Claire Foley||Episode: "Which of These Two Ladies Is He Married To?"|
|1969||ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Marina Palek||Episode: "Salve Regina"|
|1970||Play of the Month||Margaret Schlegel||Episode: "Howards End"|
|1971||Elizabeth R||Queen Elizabeth I||TV miniseries; 6 episodes|
|1971–74||The Morecambe & Wise Show||Herself||4 episodes|
|1979||Christmas With Eric & Ernie||Herself|
|1980||The Muppet Show||Herself||Episode: "Glenda Jackson"|
|1980||The Morecambe & Wise Show||Woman Kissed by Eric||Episode: "1980 Christmas Show"|
|1981||The Patricia Neal Story||Patricia Neal||TV film|
|1984||Sakharov||Yelena Bonner (Sakharova)||TV film|
|1988||American Playhouse||Nina Leeds||Episode: "Strange Interlude"|
|1990||Carol & Company||Dr. Doris Kruber||Episode: "Kruber Alert"|
|1990||T.Bag's Christmas Ding Dong||Vanity Bag||TV film|
|1991||A Murder of Quality||Ailsa Brimley||TV film|
|1991||The House of Bernarda Alba||Bernarda Alba||TV film|
|1992||The Secret Life of Arnold Bax||Harriet Cohen||TV film|
|TBA||Elizabeth is Missing||Maud||TV film|
|1964||Marat/Sade||Charlotte Corday||Aldwych Theatre|
|1965||Martin Beck Theatre|
|1975||Hedda Gabler||Hedda Gabler||Aldwych Theatre|
|1976||The White Devil||Vittoria||The Old Vic|
|1977||Stevie||Stevie Smith||Vaudeville Theatre|
|1978||Antony and Cleopatra||Cleopatra||Aldwych Theatre|
|1980||Rose||Rose||Duke of York's Theatre|
|1982||Summit Conference||Eva Braun||Lyric Theatre|
|1983||Big and Little||Lotte||Vaudeville Theatre|
|1984||Strange Interlude||Nina Leeds||Duke of York's Theatre|
|1985||Phèdre||Phèdre||The Old Vic|
|1986||Across from the Garden of Allah||The Comedy Theatre|
|1986||The House of Bernarda Alba||Bernarda Alba||Lyric Theatre|
|1988||Macbeth||Lady Macbeth||Mark Hellinger Theatre|
|1989||Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Martha||Doolittle Theatre|
|1990||Scenes from an Execution||Galactia||Almeida Theatre|
|1990||Mother Courage and Her Children||Mother Courage||Citizens Theatre|
|1991||Mourning Becomes Electra||Christine Mannon||Citizens Theatre|
|2016||King Lear||King Lear||The Old Vic|
|2018||Three Tall Women||A||John Golden Theatre|
|2019||King Lear||King Lear||Cort Theatre|
|1965||Marat/Sade||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|1981||Rose||Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|1985||Strange Interlude||Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|1988||Macbeth||Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2018||Three Tall Women||Best Actress in a Play||Won|
|1971||Women in Love||Best Actress||Won|
|1972||Sunday Bloody Sunday||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1974||A Touch of Class||Best Actress||Won|
Primetime Emmy Awards
|1972||Elizabeth R||Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|1972||Elizabeth R||Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role||Won|
|1972||Elizabeth R||Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Drama Series||Won|
|1982||The Patricia Neal Story||Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special||Nominated|
Golden Globe Awards
|1971||Women in Love||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama||Nominated|
|1972||Mary, Queen of Scots||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama||Nominated|
|1974||A Touch of Class||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy||Won|
|1976||Hedda||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama||Nominated|
|1977||The Incredible Sarah||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama||Nominated|
|1979||Stevie||Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama||Nominated|
|1982||The Patricia Neal Story||Best Actress in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|1985||Sakharov||Best Actress in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|1970||Women in Love||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1971||BBC Play of the Month: Howards End||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1972||Elizabeth R||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1972||Sunday Blood Sunday||Best Actress||Won|
|1974||A Touch of Class||Best Actress||Nominated|
New York Film Critics Circle Award
|1970||Women in Love||Best Actress||Won|
|1974||A Touch of Class||Best Actress||Nominated|
Laurence Olivier Award
|1977||Stevie||Actress of the Year in a New Play||Nominated|
|1979||Antony and Cleopatra||Actress of the Year in a Revival||Nominated|
|1980||Rose||Actress of the Year in a New Play||Nominated|
|1984||Strange Interlude||Actress of the Year in a Revival||Nominated|
|2017||King Lear||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Glenda Jackson.|
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Hampstead and Highgate
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament
for Hampstead and Kilburn